After last season, Victoria East and Victoria West know District 15-5A, Division I is highly competitive.
Heading into 2021, both schools have a feeling the district could be even more competitive with new head coaches roaming the sidelines.
Former San Angelo Central head coach Brent Davis takes over at Gregory-Portland. While Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial promoted offensive coordinator Ben Bitner to head coach following Cody Simper’s departure this offseason.
Both coaches have a history of winning and East and West understand they’ll have to be on their toes each week this season.
“You’ve got to take it one practice at a time,” said West head coach Courtney Boyce. “Our district is extremely tough, very well-coached. I have a whole lot of respect for the opposing coaches in our district, they do a great job with their teams. I think every Friday is gonna be a battle. Everybody’s gonna give everything they’ve got.”
East is hopeful attention to detail and routine will help them make a push for the playoffs again in 2021.
“We want to prepare for our first game and second game,” said East head coach Roland Gonzalez. “Just like I was telling the kids. We want to kind of set a routine for how we’re going to prepare for them. We want to see great effort and execution.”
Davis spent the last 12 years in San Angelo, leading the Bobcats to five district championships and a 94-46 record during that time. Davis guided Central to the Class 6A, Division I regional round against Allen in 2016.
With stops at Banquete, Sinton and Alice, Davis is familiar with the South Texas football landscape.
The 27-year head coaching veteran hopes the Wildcats can put it all together after placing fifth in district in 2020.
Facing Calallen — the No. 2 ranked team in Class 4A, Division I — on its non-district schedule, G-P may be well-prepared for district play.
“[Our success] has yet to be determined. It’s hard to tell,” Davis said. “We’re in a really tough district [with] nine teams. Everybody can play, everybody’s got good kids, everybody’s got good coaches. So it’s going to be a big challenge for us. We open up with two really tough teams [Calallen and Los Fresnos] in non-district and we’re just going to have to get better every week.”
Across Corpus Christi Bay at defending district champion Veterans Memorial, Bitner hopes the internal hire will likely allow the Eagles a seamless transition.
Bitner knows, with 14 starters graduated from last year’s state semifinal run, the five weeks of extra practices last year will help them vie to retain the district crown.
“I think that’s something that’s probably not talked about a lot in high school football,” Bitner said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve been to the third round [twice], the fourth round and last year, the state semifinals. The positive I think that goes unnoticed a lot is that, when you make those deep runs, your kids are able to have that much more practice and it just gives them that much more time to develop.”